Browser Not Supported

We no longer support Internet Explorer 11 as a browser.
Please download a more secure modern browser below.

Sustainability tips in the cost of living crisis

20th February 2024

Whether your goal is to save a little money or save a little of the planet, doing both would be a win-win. The rise in the cost of living is making us all take a closer look at how we’re spending our money and where we can make savings. Sustainability may not the driving force behind some of the decisions were making to reduce spending, but it could be a sizeable silver lining. 

We’re going to take a look at how being more sustainable and saving money can go hand in hand with these sustainability tips, finding ways to change spending habits and form greener ones. 

The worries about the cost of living crisis

In 2023 we surveyed 2,000 people across the UK, from 21-55+ year-olds, with incomes ranging from up to £18k to more than £100k, to understand how the cost of living is impacting their financial situation.

According to our research, 83% of the people we interviewed are worried about the cost of living. While the majority are concerned about rising energy prices (84%), people are also worried about the cost of everyday items (74%) and the cost of living in general.

With the rise in the cost of living, many people are rethinking their spending and looking at what changes they can make to live a more cost-effective and sustainable lifestyle. Buying only what we need, reusing what we have and avoiding waste where we can. Saving pennies for us while living in a way that’s better for the environment.

What are 10 ways to be more sustainable?  

If you’re looking for some greener options which can save you money, we’ve done the legwork for you in our top ten tips for saving money and living more sustainably during the cost of living crisis.  

  1. Travel 

Our research found 79% of people are concerned about the rise in fuel costs. With fuel prices changing all the time, driving your car is no longer the cheapest or most sustainable option.  

Making small changes can make a big difference. Could the school run be done on foot? Could you jump on the train to work? Could you cycle to the gym? Could you shop more locally? Reducing you carbon footprint can also reduce your fuel bill. 

  1. Energy  

Nearly 80% of the people we interviewed have been reducing electricity usage for financial reasons. The less energy we use, the less we need to generate, which means less damage to the environment and saving money on our electricity bills.  

Turning off lights when you’re not in the room, unplugging devices and appliances from outlets, running dishwashers and washing machines on lower temperatures, are just a few simple things you can do to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re in a position to do so, you could look at boosting your home’s energy efficiency. For example, adding insulation to windows, cleaning your ventilation system to improve airflow or finding out if there are green energy plans available in your area. 

  1. Food 

The choices we make when buying food can have a big impact on our weekly spend and has a huge impact on the environment. Make sure your food choices are informed and you could be living a more sustainable lifestyle as well as healthier one. There are lots of ways we can all make better food choices, here are a few to set you on the right eco-journey:  

  • Shopping locally and buying in-season, fresh food from local producers can mean your food hasn’t travelled thousands of miles before it reaches your plate  
  • Swapping out expensive meat options for less costly plant-based substitutes can have on average 50% lower environmental impact 
  • Planning your meals so you don’t impulse or overbuy will reduce both food and cash waste 
  • Freezing leftovers, labelling and storing food correctly and not relying on ‘best by’ dates are all simple ways to reduce throwing away good food and cutting back on food waste. 

Find more ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to food on these resourceful websites: Love food hate waste, WWF and Climate action Wales

  1. Clothing  

The boom in popularity for pre-loved clothing benefits both our wallets and the environment. Opting for second-hand garments and either gifting or selling your own keeps items in circulation, extending their lifecycle and preventing them ending up landfill. It also helps combat ‘throw away, fast fashion’, the high production and consumption of clothing with a high carbon footprint, which is under the spotlight for numerous environmental concerns. You can find many online options as well as high street shops offering big discounts on second-hand gems.  

Another thrifty and sustainable tip when buying new clothing, is to use the ‘wear 30 rule’ to change your mind set about impulse shopping. The 30-wear rule is challenging yourself before you buy a new item of clothing, “will I wear it at least 30 times?”. It will help you pause before you buy – and if the answer is not 100% yes, then you don’t make the purchase. 

  1. Electronics 

The UK is the second largest contributor of electronic waste in the world, just behind Norway according to a Uswitch study. If you’re looking to upgrade an electronic device, such as a mobile phone, TV or toaster, look at selling or recycling rather than throwing away. E-waste contains a number of toxic chemicals harmful to humans and the environment, so it’s vital we choose to recycle these items responsibly and cut back on purchasing where possible to reduce our digital carbon footprint.  

  1. Borrow  

Many items in our lives are used frequently, yet there are others we only need to use a few times a year or less. Borrowing (or lending) these items, rather than buying, can reduce your household waste and means you’re forking out less on one-off purchases. Consider sharing purchases with a friend, like a pressure washer, extension ladder or chainsaw. For infrequently used items like sporting and camping equipment, borrowing is a practical alternative to buying new. The list doesn’t need to end at big purchases either, books, baby equipment and board games can all be passed along and passed back again. It will save you money and space and also helps create a shared responsibility towards more sustainable lifestyle choices. 

  1. Insulate 

Insulating your hot water tank is one of the easiest ways to save money and energy. Ensure the jacket on the hot water tank is at least 80mm thick and according to Energy Saving Trust you could be saving yourself around £50 per year. 

  1. Repair 

The rising cost of living and a growing commitment to waste reduction has sparked a revival in people patching up their possessions. From clothing and furniture to appliances and electronics, repairing rather than replacing can be cheaper, better for the environment and more sustainable. 

The law is also making it easier for us to opt for repairing our appliances. The ‘right to repair’ law introduced in 2021 requires manufacturers of white goods such as washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers, fridges as well as TVs, to provide consumers with spare parts for safe repair and for them to continue to manufacture parts for trickier repairs so professionals are able to fix them.   

  1. Budgeting  

One of the easiest ways to save money is to create a budget. Tracking your expenses and looking at which luxuries you could cut down on can help you understand what changes to your spending you can make and where you could be saving. Looking at what you already have, what you can reuse and how you can spend your money on things that last can also help to reduce your spending and live more sustainably during the cost of living crisis. Read our blog on budgeting or research the best budgeting apps

  1. Saving  

When choosing where to invest your money or who your pension provider is, consider avoiding banks who have connections with the fossil fuel industry. Instead choose placing your money with a trusted organisation who are actively striving towards being sustainable and have a purpose to make positive differences to customers and communities, like Hodge. 

More tips on saving money 

Save with Hodge: If you’re spending less because of the changes you’re making to reduce your bills and be more sustainable, then looking at where you can keep your savings is a great way to make sure you make the most out of your money. 

View our savings account options

This article is correct at time of publishing and for general information purposes only. We recommend you speak to a professional financial adviser for advice. You can find a financial adviser and further personal finance information at . 

Related Articles